Do you snore? You may want to talk to your doctor. Snoring is a sign of sleep apnea, a serious medical condition that causes an interruption in breathing during sleep—which, in turn, prevents deep sleep. Sleep apnea has been linked to daytime sleepiness, high blood pressure, heart problems, lung conditions and Wisconsin car accidents.
Wisconsin car accidents? Yes, indeed. A recent study by University Hospital in Leeds tested the driving ability of the driving skills of 133 people with untreated sleep apnea and 89 people without the condition. Each participant completed a 56 mile (90 km) driving simulation. The researchers compared the time it took to complete the simulation, the time spent driving in the middle lane, and the number of unprovoked car crashes.
People with untreated sleep apnea were twice as likely to fail the test. They had more crashes and more difficulty following the directions they were given at the beginning of the study. They also had more accidents.
A second study involved 118 people with untreated sleep apnea and 69 without the condition. These participants completed a questionnaire about driving behavior before taking a 56-mile simulated driving test. Thirty-eight percent of those with sleep apnea failed the test. Thirty-five percent fell asleep while being tested. All the participants without sleep apnea passed test; 11 percent fell asleep.
The research was presented on April 11 at the Sleep And Breathing Conference in Berlin.
More than 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, including more than one-quarter of truck drivers. These drivers are a risk to themselves and others on the road. If your family complains about your snoring, talk to your doctor about your apnea risk.
Drivers who fall asleep at the wheel can be held liable for injuries and other damages in a Green Bay car crash. To learn more about your rights after a Wisconsin drowsy driving accident, please call Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678 and ask to schedule a free consultation with an accident lawyer in Green Bay.